Keep Santa Cruz Cross – Chris Corona

Keep Santa Cruz Cross
Photos and words by Chris Corona

I’ll never forget when I first moved to Santa Cruz, standing in line at the grocery store and seeing mountain bike mags where tabloids usually sat. I rode XC MTB for several years in Philly and I just moved to MTB heaven. The dirt here is soft, smooth and loamy. The scent of the redwoods paired with the ocean mist is a smell like no other. The weather is mild and fog can roll in just as fast as it burns off, depending on nature’s mood. The scenery is like no other here – seeing a visitor’s look on their face staring at a giant redwood is priceless. Seeing the look on their face when they are standing on a bluff overlooking the Pacific, just 20 minutes after the giant redwood is even better.

Cross bikes never really piqued my interest until some heads told me about their experiences in the surrounding wilderness. Big endurance rides that involve roads with hardly any traffic. Lonely dirt roads that lead to lonelier single tracks not touched in months by a human. The quiet and the loneliness lured me out to several recommended locations. Wilder Ranch, Big Basin, and Nisene are just a few that come to mind. Ride one park or combine different segments of each. Endless options.

I started taking photos to prove to my friends how beautiful of an experience it is out here. By now, I have been lucky enough to show most of my friends the places we adventure. The diversity and beauty.

There are several of us here that truly enjoy the trail experience best on cross. The range and ruggedness of a cross bike offer an experience all in its own. We live for the adventure and desire bigger and different challenges. Santa Cruz is the perfect place for such adventure and cross bikes are the tool to see it all.

Keep Santa Cruz Cross…

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Follow Chris on Instagram

  • CTDSAC

    By far one of my favorite photographers in the cycling community. @dirtdrops on the insta kills it. Nice to see you contributing on The Radavist, I look forward to more of your work. Next time I am in Santa Cruz hopefully I can tag along on a ride.

    • I’ve been a fan of Chris’ work too! Glad this came together.

    • Going out on a ride with @dirtdrops is one of the highlights of my week. Every time we go out, I’m seeing something new or he switches up the routes which makes them less repetitive. Anyone who wants to come to Santa Cruz and ride should connect with @dirtdrops. If you don’t, then you made a mistake :)

    • -=Corona=-

      Thank you so much! You get the open invite!

  • hawt photoset

  • Killer photos! We’ve loved working with Chris and we’re stoked to see his photos up on The Radavist. Dude has some serious skills with a camera.

  • Awesome shots! I love sets like this that show off the best of an area. I’ll be moving down to SF in a few weeks. Excited to get down to Santa Cruz and visit!

    • Ornotbike

      When you move down here swing through! Safe travels.

  • Gene

    It’s absolutely insane how many different worlds you can explore by bike in Santa Cruz. Corona really captures each one. Follow him!

    • -=Corona=-

      Gene-O! The miles!!!

  • This is so good!

    • -=Corona=-

      Thanks Kyle!

  • Ornotbike

    Love it @dirtdrops !

    • -=Corona=-

      Thank you!!!

  • Trenton South

    Stoked to see chris’ work on this site. Chris always has the best photo spots around town, especially up in the mountains. I am continually inspired by chris’ work. Keep on producing that infamous @dirtdrops work!!

    • -=Corona=-

      Thanks Trenton!!!

  • Nico

    Beautiful photos. I’ve only scratched the surface of this area with a couple of rides in the vicinity of Big Basin and Wilder Ranch SPs. This photoset has me jonesing to get back up there this summer/fall for some more rides! Loved how lush and green all the canyons and gullies are. Such a treat to ride through redwoods and ferns for a few days rather than endless scratchy yucca and chaparral. Thanks for sharing!

    • Angel Herrera

      hey, scratchy yucca and chaparral is the jam.

      • I lurve it so much! Rattlesnakes > banana slugs! hahaha – I do miss the Campus trails though!

  • movemint

    Hell yeah Corona!

    • -=Corona=-

      🤘🤘🤘

  • Richard

    Where is that trestle?? Gotta ride that!

  • Shawn Remy

    Radical Write up Chris!!!

    • -=Corona=-

      Thanks Remy! Long live Chipotle hacks!

  • Benedikt Dörflinger

    Holy Shit!” That saves me the Day! Thanks Corona and John! <3

    • -=Corona=-

      For sure!

  • M.R.

    I like this kinda cross much more than cross.

  • Great pics Mr. Corona.

    • -=Corona=-

      Thanks Ed! Taco date Thursday?

  • mrbiggs

    A little over a year ago I found out some work was gonna land me in Santa Cruz for a few days, and I wanted to get some cycling in. I knew I could rent a Santa Cruz full-suspension whatever bike, or some Trek or something and head up to Wilder Ranch. Fine. But I like riding cross bikes in the woods here in Philly, so I emailed Spokesman Bikes in SC and asked if they rent drop-bar kinda bikes. You know, for adventures. They replied no, they don’t, but they know a guy.
    A day later I get an email from Chris. Turns out Chris lived in Philly before Santa Cruz. Turns out Chris knows all the same dudes I know here in Phila. Turns out Chris has two Cross Checks tricked out, and yeah, Chris likes to ride cross bikes in the woods.
    So welcome to Santa Cruz for sure. Two 35+ mile rides, redwoods, hills, more hills, ocean, more redwoods, tacos, and lots of photos. “Hey Brian, walk your bike up that steep descent and ride it again. The sunlight is better than it was five minutes ago.” “Hey Brian, ride up that ridiculous hill and pose against that sunset.” I was happy to do it, of course. Turns out Chris can take some fucking great photos.

    Thanks Chris. Get your ass out here to Philly. The scenery isn’t quite the same, but you know that. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/217bea7f07d68f1e17367748251f56c1e55a79c5238298ecba3c50c5599c8c9d.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/045f94cf19d3fd7c7a2b6e867cf95c28e2d4d5e7e0cbe357a6ecf51767b87171.jpg

    • -=Corona=-

      Brian! That was some trip! I’ll see you and my Lonewolf brethren in 2019! I’m ready to KYTL Belmont Plateau style!

  • -=Corona=-

    All the great comments! So much more to see and share! ✌️

  • Michael Rutter

    Very refreshing to read an article about riding a road bike off road without the mention of a gravel bike.

    • -=Corona=-

      yes! the term has gotten kinda nuts! we don’t have much gravel in SC either so it didn’t feel right. cheers!

  • Michele minessi

    Incredible Shots! dirtdrops n°1!

  • Burke Culligan

    there is something primal to riding a cross a cross bike through certain parts of the planet. a few too many years ago – i bought an old Santa Cruz Stigmata aluminum frame off of ebay to try the ‘cross thing (lifetime mtb’er)… entered a Surf City CX race out at the fairgrounds – and generally got hooked on the vibe and the challenge. Figured i should do a little training to figure out this cross thing… but very quickly the ‘cross training’ rides became amazing adventures – as Chris describes – i’d spend hours on Google maps looking for more routes/trails to connect, tiny roads, fire roads, and singletrack… (who knew that i’d end up loving fireroad rides) — somehow these adventure rides have evolved into my primary weekend adventures. …need to check that mountain bike for dust.

  • John Solomito

    Nice write up. There’s so much terrain out there in the Santa Cruz mountains that is made” for cross bikes.

  • Well said, definitely the best tool for the job.